A trip to explore Parma, Italy, should be less focused on the geographical differences between the towns that surround the city, and more focused on where to find food experiences. Perhaps they have their priorities right. After all, UNESCO recently named Parma a Creative City for Gastronomy. But, even if your focus is on eating, you need some place to stay in Parma, right?
Parma, famous for its cheeses and hams, is a popular spot among food travelers to Emilia Romagna. Parma lies along the Parma River, offering riverside walks or lazy afternoons spent lounging in the Parco Ducale, or window shopping along Strada Luigi Carlo Farini. There are also churches, monasteries, and theaters to keep culture hounds busy. There is a cathedral, several beautiful squares, and a famous pink-hued baptistery.
And, we have some recommendations of where to stay in Parma so that you can enjoy the culinary delights of this portion of Emilia Romagna.
Where to Stay in Parma – Central
Staying within the city offers some obvious perks, including the ability to explore the city itself. And, it’s nice to walk around before dinner, enjoy an Aperol Spritz for aperitivo, and slowly stroll back. But, the historic center of Parma is pedestrian only. Many hotels offer parking for a fee, but if you have a rental car, check your parking options ahead of time. There are no free parking lots in Parma, as there are in Modena.
This four-star hotel in the heart of Parma features over a hundred rooms, in an historic building. During the day, walk to the most famous attractions of Parma, such as the Victory Monument. It is also very close to the train station. They offer parking for a fee. Rooms start at €94. (Check out Tripadvisor reviews here | Book here)
The Best Western Farnese is a western hotel chain, but it offers a little more atmosphere and comfort than the traditional Best Western hotels in the U.S. The hotel is set just outside of the city limits. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk from the hotel into the center of town, which is totally doable in nicer weather. It is a good compromise between being close in to town, and using it as a base to explore the surrounding areas, as parking is free. And, they have a pool, along with an inviting terrace during the summer. Perfect to enjoy a cocktail during the nicer weather. Room rates begin at €64. (Check out Tripadvisor reviews here | Book here)
Although the decor could be considered “touristy,” the location and views of the Dalla Rosa Prati can’t be beat. Located across from the Duomo, many rooms have views of the cathedral. It is very, very centrally located, so that means difficult to park, and possible some noise being in the center of it all. Rooms start at €90 in the low season. They also offer two and three bedroom apartments. (Check out Tripadvisor reviews here | Book here)
Where to Stay in Parma – Countryside
The city of Parma itself offers a plethora of restaurants and food shops offering up the meats and cheeses that make Parma famous. But, similar to Modena, Parma is really all about the food. And to learn about the food it is necessary to retreat to the countryside. So, we have a few recommendations of where to stay in Parma if you want to explore the countryside, either at a boutique property or an agriturismo.
Antica Corte Pallavicina Relais in Polescine Parmenese
This hotel is famous across the region for Chef Massimo Spigaroli’s culatello production, world-renowned restaurant, and 14th century wine and salami cellars. It’s located about 45 minutes northwest of Parma, a 12 minute walk to the Po River, and close to the border of Lombardy. The property is a destination itself. Between it’s Michelin Star restaurant, another more casual restaurant, and the ability to learn about culatello production on site. The rooms themselves are perfectly restored, with extreme attention to detail. And, peacocks roam the property. What else could you ask for? Rooms start at €200 per night. (Check out Tripadvisor reviews here | Book here)
Hostaria Da’Ivan in Roccabianca
Hostaria Da’Ivan is a well-known restaurant favored by Parma locals. This is, in part, because of its gregarious owner, Ivan, and his dedication to local meats and his knowledge of good wines. The restaurant offers four rooms upstairs, which are quaint and nicely appointed. A good alternative to Antica Corte Pallavicina, which isn’t far away. Rooms start at €100 a night. (Check out Tripadvisor reviews here | Book here)
Villino di Porporano in Porporano
Located only a couple of kilometers outside of Parma, the rooms at the Villino di Porporano are set in a manor house surrounded by greenery and a pool. The rooms themselves are sumptuous, with hardwood floors and exposed stonework. They offer breakfast and can arrange cooking classes and tours, but do not have a restaurant on property. Rooms start at €85 in the low season. (Check out Tripadvisor reviews here | Book here)
Heading to Parma?
Where to Stay in Parma: Get more hotel recommendations here.
What to do in Parma: Book a culinary tour with Food Valley.
Learn more: Get the only guide you would ever need for Parma, the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna: How to taste the history and tradition of Italy, from Amazon. Or, get a copy of Pellegrino Artusi’s The Art of Eating Well to learn to cook traditional Italian cuisine at home.